Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
You can read my review HERE
A few of my favourite reads that work for this time of year.
Some will have you hiding (or rather covering your mirrors *cough* Say Her Name *cough*) others are entertaining, mysterious, intriguing, thrilling… hopefully there is something for everyone.
Happy Halloween :)
Books reviewed this month:
Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks as “Anonymous” (Banned Books)
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (Blog Tour)
Killing Sound Blog by Paul Southern (Blog Tour)
Genre: Horror / Paranormal
Synopsis: There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.
Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.
A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.
Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.
A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–before it’s too late?
200words (or less) review: I thought MARY: The Summoning was the perfect addition to my Halloween TBR and I did read most of it in the evening.
The first chapter is Jess and her friends summoning Mary so there is no slow easing into the story. You get a small breather after her first appearance but once Mary gets past the mirror Hillary Monahan goes from one high tension moment to the next. I ended up reading the book in one sitting.
I liked the back-story there is for Mary and I’m quite intrigued to see how that progresses. The “scary” scenes are also very descriptive so I pictured them clearly. Despite this the book didn’t leave any lingering effects; no keeping the lights on or checking the mirrors.
MARY: The Summoning is a fast-paced and vivid re-imagining on the Bloody Mary legend.
We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged. How/If things have changed since the book was originally published. What we actually think of the book.
If you’d like to joining in there is a list of the books we’ll be reading at the bottom of this post.
Blurb: Alice could be anyone – she could be someone you know, or someone you love – and Alice is in trouble …
Being fifteen is hard, but Alice seems fine. She babysits the neighbour’s kids. She is doing well at school. Someday she’d even like to get married and raise a family of her own. Then she is invited to a party, a special party where the drinks are spiked with LSD and Alice is never the same again.
This tragic and extraordinary true-life story shows the devastating effect that drug-abuse can have. But the big difference between Alice and a lot of other kids on drugs is that Alice kept a diary…
Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?
BETH:When I first began this read, I was quite surprised to learn that it was first published in 1971 as I found it read more contemporary than that – in other words, published about ten years ago or so. For the seventies, I think it was probably highly controversial when it came out even with the amount of “free love,” that was floating around at the time. I didn’t really find the language particularly offensive or find that it was sexually explicit but I am probably judging it by modern standards!
CHRISSI: I think it was probably very controversial at the time, so of course, it didn’t fit in. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that this book stood out, but I can understand why it was banned. The subject matter obviously struck a chord with many people.
LUNA: I honestly don’t know, 1971 is too long ago. My opinion of the 70s is mostly from That 70s Show that isn’t going to be an accurate reflection of the time is it? The book was published; it’s supposed to be warning regarding the dangers of drugs so it would have to be make an impact to work.
How about now?
BETH: This book deals with some very serious issues, namely teenage drug abuse. For this reason, I do understand why it is banned/challenged, especially in schools. I know that the book is meant to be quite gritty and portray a teenager coming out the other side of addiction but for me personally, I don’t think that message got across very well. At times I even felt like it glorified drug use in a way, or made it seem quite a lot of fun. Obviously that is not really a good message to send out to impressionable young people.
CHRISSI: I don’t really like that this book is marketed as non fiction. I actually thought it was a true story until I looked it further. It’s very frustrating that it’s marketed as non fiction when it’s not. Hmmmm. Non fiction or fiction aside, I don’t think it’s appropriate for use in schools. It raises very dark issues (as well as the drug use) which I don’t think are appropriate for some impressionable teenagers. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that every teenager is impressionable (they’re certainly not!), but some may take the messages this book sends in the wrong way.
LUNA: It’ll come as a surprise but I have a problem with this book. It’s nothing to do with the content (the banned reasons: drugs, offensive language and sexually explicit) and everything to do with the marketing. Go Ask Alice is a work of fiction. Yet it was originally promoted as nonfiction, it’s still sold as “by Anonymous” and the copy I have has “This is Alice’s True Story” on the cover plus the blurb on the back, the foreword and the Psychologist’s Comment at the back – everything is still packaged to make out this is nonfiction.
It got my back up. It is fiction and it should be presented as such.
What did you think of the book?
BETH: I have to admit, I was really, really disappointed. It’s only a short read (162 pages in my copy) and is made up of journal entries but for me it felt like a slog to get through the whole time. The main character annoyed me to the point where I wanted to throw the book across the other side of the room! And worse of all, I just didn’t believe it. Then we come to the ending… and for a second I almost upgraded my thoughts to a “three star” review until I read a bit more about the book in general. And I’m absolutely disgusted. As the girls have said, this is marketed as a work of non-fiction and if you buy into that the ending may change the way you feel about the entire book. As I later found out, it is a work of FICTION and I don’t know what else to say except that I feel really cheated and quite cross.
CHRISSI: It wasn’t what I thought it was going to be if I’m honest. I wanted to feel connected to the main character and feel sorry for her. But I didn’t. I just found her annoying- which isn’t what I wanted to feel from a teenage drug addict.
LUNA: The narrator is not likeable; I didn’t have any connection with her and found her rather whiny. Given that the point of this book if to warn of ‘what can happen’ I would have expected more empathy with the character. (Btw it’s never established what her name is.)
I know the book is over 40 years old but Go Ask Alice really feels it. A lot of the time I don’t notice age with books when I’m lost in a story but I don’t think the text has dated well. Maybe it’s partly to blame for the disconnect I felt to the character/story.
I’ll admit that my opinion of Go Ask Alice was negatively influenced by the marketing before I started the book but I was hoping the content would win me round – it never really did.
Would you recommend it?
BETH: I think it’s important that teenagers get to read the real stories behind drug addiction (get it? REAL!) but I wouldn’t recommend this one. I’ll get off my soapbox now.
CHRISSI: Possibly, but I think there are more powerful books around the same subject out there.
LUNA: If it wasn’t still labelled as a “true story” maybe but I think there are better books out there.
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
Chosen by: Luna
Lush by Natasha Friend
Chosen by: Beth
Previously reviewed: Long Lankin
Aphra is not a normal child. Found abandoned as a baby among the reeds and rushes, the two outcast witches who raise her in their isolated cottage are never sure if she was born, or just pushed up through the foul, black mud for them to find. Little Aphra’s gifts in the dark craft are clear, even as an infant, but soon even her guardians begin to fear her.
When a violent fire destroys their home, Aphra is left to fend for herself. Years of begging and stealing make her strong, but they also make her bitter, for she is shunned and feared by everyone she meets.
Until she reaches Bryers Guerdon and meets the man they call Long Lankin – the leper. Ostracized and tormented, he is the only person willing to help her.
And together, they plot their revenge.
Four years have passed since the death of Ida Guerdon, and Cora is back in Bryers Guerdon in the manor house her aunt left to her. It is a cold, bitter winter, and the horrifying events of that sweltering summer in 1958 seem long past.
Until Cora’s father arranges for some restoration work to take place at Guerdon Hall, and it seems that something hidden there long ago has been disturbed. The spirit of Aphra Rushes – intent on finishing what she began, four centuries ago.
200words (or less) review: Originally I wasn’t sure why Long Lankin needed a sequel but Lindsay Barraclough made it work and brilliantly so.
Unlike so many other books I’ve read in the genre of late the story takes time. You aren’t pushed from one scene to the next, instead your walk an intricate path along with the characters. The book might seem long at first glance but once you begin reading you’re so lost in the story that you don’t notice.
Lindsay Barraclough takes the time to build the characters, particularly Aphra, the book is more gripping. Understanding the darkness makes it so much more interesting and sinister.
The Mark of Cain is beautifully written. It’s dark and chilling and “atmospheric” is still the perfect word to sum up Lindsay Barraclough’s writing.
Maisie doesn’t believe in ghosts…
But when she starts at her new school, there are rumours – of a long-gone girl who wanders the halls, Could this be the pale face, the whisper of white that Maisie’s spotted in the art-room window at night?
Together with her friend Kat, Maisie longs to learn more about the school ghost. Who was she? What happened to her? Then Kat comes across a photograph of something Maisie never expected to see…
Thoughts before you started reading The Girl Who Wasn’t There?
CHRISSI: I didn’t really know a lot about the book but I was excited to read it, given the synopsis and the lovely cover.
LUNA: I’d previously read Angels Next Door so I knew I’d enjoy this.
What did you think of Maisie?
CHRISSI: I thought Maisie was an adorable character. I easily warmed to her. I thought her friendship with Kat was incredibly endearing. Kat was a great addition to the story.
LUNA: I really liked Maisie, she’d a great narrator. You’re instantly on her side and want to continue reading just because of her.
CHRISSI: I really enjoyed the book as a whole. I thought it was engaging, fun and easy to read!
LUNA: For me the relationship between Maisie and her sister Clem was one of the best things about this book. It feels real, complicated and messy. They love each other but they don’t always like each other. Maisie’s sometimes the wise one, other times Clem really comes through but in the end they pull together.
CHRISSI: I found some parts a little predictable, but that’s only a slight criticism. It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book at all.
LUNA: I thought it took quite a long time to find out what had happened to Maisie at her previous school.
Favourite character / moment?
CHRISSI: When Maisie’s worked out the truth about her friend’s story…
LUNA: Clem and Maisie’s dad’s dating was pretty entertaining. It’s nice to have a good father-figure in a book as I haven’t come across one in quite a while.
Was The Girl Who Wasn’t There what you expected?
CHRISSI: It was better than I expected. I really enjoyed it! A simple, but lovely story.
LUNA: It was, I picked it for Halloween because there is a ghost but I wasn’t expecting any frights. Karen McCombie gave me precisely what I wanted, a nice and sweet story.
Would you recommend it?:
CHRISSI: Of course!
Previously reviewed by Luna: Angels Next Door